Character Building Ride

Posted: September 25, 2011 in 2011, Rides

Having been abandoned by my riding mates again (do I need to wash more?) 😉 I decided to head out on my crosser in road bike guise. It has road tyres on it at present so it seemed like a good idea. I was up nice and early but failed to get out of the blocks as there was some rugby to watch (from yesterday).

I must have headed out shortly after 9.20 and felt the wisest thing to do would be to head upwind for the first leg. The breeze was fresh and strengthened over the course of the ride. Having said that, it was warm and sunny, a perfect, early autumn, day. I had a general idea where I wanted to go but decided to let the details look after themselves. So it was that in Barrow, I hit my first diversion. Just out of the village, heading towards Depden, is a turning on the right which ultimately takes you to Gazeley. It is very much a ‘B’ road and is lumpy, bumpy, twisty and exposed. I love it, and grab at any excuse to ride it.

The road lived up to expectations but, riding it away from home is easier than the normal ‘towards home’ direction which has some short and steep climbs – horrible at the end of a ride. The road is usually deserted but I contributed to a mini traffic jam today as runner, cyclist (me), horse x 2 and a car, all came together at the same spot, at the same time. Once the horses had calmed down it was back into gear (after a long track stand) and into Gazeley. I had noticed the wind on the downs already and it was getting stronger. By the climb out of Lidgate it was definitely impeding me and little ring was engaged. As I headed towards Stradishall it picked up even more, as a prelude to the longest climb of the ride. Sure enough it hit me head on ad usually little to worry about, the climb was made somewhat more difficult; the descent – usually fast and swoopy – was slow. I had to pedal downhill in order to maintain any momentum at all.

The bottom of the hill signals a radical change of direction but alas, no relief from the wind and I struggled along the road to Clare. At the next turn, instead of relief, I had a cross wind…but from the other side and apart from a temporary respite through Cavendish, I was working hard all the way. I buoyed myself up by thinking of the turn to Glemsford, up Hunts Hill. Surely this would be better but the blooming wind had come round again and by now, I was getting tired. A (very brief) stop at the church (highest point in the village) and a gel allowed me to recover and the downhill bit was fantastic – steep and the wind behind. Time was against me and I had to turn for home and so it was that I got some help for the first time. Coming out of Hartest I chased down and passed another cyclist who was maybe half a mile in front. OK he was about 80 and on a MTB but I still got him before the climb ended! 😉

All too soon, the ride finished and it wasn’t until I rolled into the drive that I realised how tired I was. This ride had really taken it out of me. I had struggled yesterday while swimming so maybe I am generally tired anyway. Nevertheless, an afternoon of indolence lies ahead and I’m going to make the most of it!

No tunes this ride, I couldn’t have heard it, the noise of the wind was too much!

Just over 40 miles (and I mean ‘just’) at 17mph dead. Nothing to shout about, but it feels like I have been leading Cav out at the Worlds!

Why a ‘character building’ ride? It goes like this….the first 20 miles upwiind, the next 5 or so with some help and then a headwind pretty much all the way home.

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